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Transportable, affordable lighting kit to bring on a shoot to Ireland


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#1 Alexander Boyd

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 01:21 AM

Hello everyone,

 

I have a very similar question to the one posted here (http://www.cinematog...980#entry444969) yet I'm thinking on a much smaller, less "professional" scale. Here's my situation:

 

I'm based in Germany but planning to shoot a (small-scale) short film in Ireland in June. I'm looking to put together an affordable, transportable and basic (I know, I'm asking for a lot!) lighting kit that will get me through most INTERIOR situations and that I could take to Ireland with me.

 

Due to the lack of crew (we'll have a crew of 4 people) and access to sufficient power (yes, we could get a generator I guess) I'm not too concerned about exterior shots just right now. I'm also scheduling around shooting exteriors in the morning/evening, where I believe bouncing/reflecting the sun should do the job for the biggest part.

 

The plan is to light the interior scenes 360°. It's more of a guideline than an actual, realistic goal. Yet due to long, continuous shots of the actors walking through rooms I'll heavily rely on the usage of practicals. Now, what lights would you recommend to complement the practicals with? Especially something to raise the general ambience and create key/fill, shooting through windows and such? And keep in mind it should be somewhat transportable and run on house circuits. 

 

The reason why I'd rather buy something than rent is the flexibility time-wise. I could test different set-ups on location and experiment before the shoot (which I'd love to do because I'm far from being a professional), whereas if I'd rent I would be under much bigger pressure time- and budget-wise.

 

I was looking into Lowell lights recently because they seem to be fairly flexible, transportable and affordable. But I'd love to hear your thoughts and maybe some recommendations.

 

Thanks for your help in advance!

 

Alex 


Edited by Alexander Boyd, 13 January 2016 - 01:22 AM.

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#2 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 06:28 AM

Lite Panels have various kit packages... that come with Pelican cases on wheels..  not the cheapest lights but well made..  you can fit all the stands etc in the one big case.. mine went on about 10 flights last year and no damage .. get the V mount attachment for batts .. low power consumption from mains .. didn't get hot and very small..  

Theres a limit to the area you can light.. but thats down to physic,s.. if you need to light a large area then maybe local rental is better..


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#3 Miguel Angel

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 10:45 AM

Every single interior is different from each other and there is no "small, affordable and transportable" package which will let you light ANY interior in 360° be day or night because at some stage you might need a more powerful light to light something.

Said that, for daylight situations you could use a couple of Jokers or M8's to augment the light from the exterior or either on tubes / autopoles or clamped somewhere inside the interiors, they are not very affordable to buy tho.

Rifa lights and Lite panels are great too and they are very very transportable but they won't give you a lot of light if you place them outside and want to light a large area through the windows.

The old chinese lanterns could be an option too.

There is also a fantastic LED mat (I don't remember the actual brand, it is German tho) but it is flexible, powerful, big and cheap!

Again, we have amazing rental houses in Ireland, which can deliver the desired lights to your location and picked them right after you finish shooting.

Also, June and July are not usually very sunny in Ireland, at least for the last 4 years we have had really bad weather

Have a good day!
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 01:35 PM

What is your total budget for lighting? What kind of locations will you be in? Also, have you thought about the different style power plugs you will need for all of the lights you will be bringing over? If you have a few thousand dollars, I think your money would be much better spent on hiring a local gaffer with a grip truck. You will need a lot of grip equipment to do a good job since it sounds like you want to rig lights to ceilings.

Also, what camera will you be shooting on? Because if you are using something like an Alexa with it's huge dynamic range or an a7S with it's very high sensitivity, you can get away with fewer or less powerful lights. Again, something that an experienced gaffer can help you figure out.
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#5 Alexander Boyd

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 11:06 PM

What is your total budget for lighting? What kind of locations will you be in? Also, have you thought about the different style power plugs you will need for all of the lights you will be bringing over? If you have a few thousand dollars, I think your money would be much better spent on hiring a local gaffer with a grip truck. You will need a lot of grip equipment to do a good job since it sounds like you want to rig lights to ceilings.

Also, what camera will you be shooting on? Because if you are using something like an Alexa with it's huge dynamic range or an a7S with it's very high sensitivity, you can get away with fewer or less powerful lights. Again, something that an experienced gaffer can help you figure out.

 

I'm looking to spend around 2000€. The locations are a residential house and the surrounding fields. Possibly a bar as well.

 

We'll be shooting 35mm 4-perf.

 

I do like your idea of hiring a local gaffer + grip truck, though that might be a challenge for the little budget I have. 

 

 

Every single interior is different from each other and there is no "small, affordable and transportable" package which will let you light ANY interior in 360° be day or night because at some stage you might need a more powerful light to light something.

Said that, for daylight situations you could use a couple of Jokers or M8's to augment the light from the exterior or either on tubes / autopoles or clamped somewhere inside the interiors, they are not very affordable to buy tho.

Rifa lights and Lite panels are great too and they are very very transportable but they won't give you a lot of light if you place them outside and want to light a large area through the windows.

The old chinese lanterns could be an option too.

There is also a fantastic LED mat (I don't remember the actual brand, it is German tho) but it is flexible, powerful, big and cheap!

Again, we have amazing rental houses in Ireland, which can deliver the desired lights to your location and picked them right after you finish shooting.

Also, June and July are not usually very sunny in Ireland, at least for the last 4 years we have had really bad weather

Have a good day!

 

thanks for your thoughts on shooting in Ireland in general. Do you remember the weather situations you had in September over the past couple of years? Because there's a chance we'll shoot it in September instead, depending on budget and crew's schedules. 

 

the German LED mat sounds great. Do you have any example pics so I know what to look out for - since you don't remember the brand's name.

 

 

something like could be ideal I believe: http://www.ebay.com/...FEAAOSwYIhWiE4i... would you recommend such, considering the small size of the crew? adding some flags, diffusions and gel and I should be fairly flexible


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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 02:54 AM

If budget is tight, you might be able to have the gaffer rough in the set lighting and pre-rig the house for you so that on the shooting days, you would just have your own crew turn the lights on and off as needed. Maybe just have a few small lights like Dedos, a few bounce cards, and a KinoFlo as a key light that you can work yourself from the floor. And then the gaffer would return at the end of the shoot to break down, so you'd only be paying for two days of his labor, plus gear rental. Just a thought.
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#7 Miguel Angel

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:32 AM

Hi Alexander, 

 

September was absolutely amazing in 2015 and 2014.

The first week of September, as a general rule, is usually sunny and magnificent.

 

However, it is Ireland, so be aware that you might get a bit of rain and some overcast days. 

 

How many days are you going to shoot? I would say that for a normal short - film (3 / 4 days), €2000 should be plenty for a gaffer + lights + some grip accessories. 

 

We obviously don't know the size of the rooms that you are going to shoot in but you mentioned before that you want to have long, continuous shots of the actors walking through rooms. 

 

Will you be shooting on 250D? 

 

I presume that you might want to have the same exterior light and ratios through the takes so you might need some HMI's to achieve that constant light, even M18's or 2.5K's through diffusion or bounced off frames, which are not very expensive. 

 

Another option could be placing mirrors in front of each window to direct the sunlight to the interior of the rooms.

 

To do so you need to know very well how the sun is going to behave through the day and you might need to reposition the mirrors every now and then due to the movement of the sun.

 

However, if you can get away with the exterior light maybe not being the same or you can get your rooms facing north you could easily put celebs / kinoflos / Litepanels / Divalights over the windows to augment the exterior light a bit, have all the practicals in dimmers and augment the practicals with either bounced 1K's or Rifa Lights from the ceiling, at least that's what I would do :)

 

That way you have the option to shoot 360º, you have a bit of exposure through the windows, if your rooms are facing north the light will be more or less the same and your practicals will work fantastically. 

 

Again, before buying anything I would consider keeping in touch with any of the lighting rental houses over here regarding a quotation for a equipment list for the days that you want to have the lights, such as Cine Electric:

 

Cine Electric

http://www.cine-elec...ute=common/home

 

You might be surprised! 

 

 

Regarding the LED mat, it was something very similar to the following one: 

 

http://www.bhphotovi...ylight_mat.html

 

http://www.fjwestcot...daylight-bundle

 

Maybe it was that one and it wasn't German but American. 

 

Have a good day. 


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#8 Alexander Boyd

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 05:24 PM

Hi Miguel,

 

I'll be going to the location in May to make plans and figure out things like movement, size of space etc. to provide the gaffer with the necessary information and general, creative ideas and possibilities. 

 

I really like your recommendation of getting a local gaffer involved, especially since I'm not that experienced just yet. Might as well learn a lot by just collaborating with him. Could you recommend any Ireland-based gaffers by any chance? 

 

Also, the plan is to go to the location 1-2 weeks earlier (it's my uncle's house, eg. we have free and unlimited access), go through all the shots and tweak and change things before having the gaffer join us, setting up the lights and shooting for 5-6 days.

 

We'll shoot in September. 

 

Thanks everybody for your advice, you've been extremely helpful! :)


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#9 Maximilian Motel

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 10:44 AM

Hey Alexander,

In your case, I would find a renting house in Ireland and just rent for the job. And maybe, to get an idea what might work, get some stuff in Germany first and experiment with that. Where in Germany are you based, if I may ask? I know a couple of renting house in Berlin, for example, that give students a discount, and I am sure they try to help you out if you aren't shooting a job with their gear but just try something out.

 

I thought about buying more lighting gear as well, but the thing is, that you tend to then do all your jobs with that gear and not with the gear that you actually feel might work best. Also, getting your gear on an airplane is a massive hassle and quite expensive. I was talking to Lufthansa a while ago about media passes, as I was planning to fly a bunch of gear to Brazil and they ended up quoting me about 300€ per bag per flight. European travel should be less expensive, but I'd also be worried about broken lights etc. Also, you'll have to get grip gear at a local renting house anyway. Plus, they'll probably offer you a discount if you get everything from them.

 

If you are dead set on buying gear though, I'd advise you to get some small Dedos or LED lights, they are easy to travel with and very useful for small gags etc.


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#10 Jon Kline

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 08:50 PM

The 1x1 led panels with V-mount are becoming the standard kit to fly with, for sure. If you need more than four lights, you should almost certainly be renting locally.

The cost of a grip or gaffer with a van and basic lighting package is usually not prohibitive. It can really help to have an extra hand on set, if you're dealing with more than a few lights.


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#11 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 12:08 AM

Honestly, unless you'll be driving/ferrying you're way over to Ireland - just source a local gaffer. Trying to transport lighting and grip on flights, is painful, expensive, and you're never able to bring enough gear with you.

 

Much better to have someone with a lighting van once you reach Ireland. That way you'll have all the little bits and bobs you need to make it through the day. And crew member who's experienced with working in and around the sorts of locations you'll be using.

 

It'll save a lot of headaches in the long run I imagine.


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Visual Products

CineTape

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Glidecam

CineLab

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Pro 8mm

Willys Widgets

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Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Zylight